Appalachian Food

Summer Supper

Today’s guest post was written by Lorene from Appalroot Farm.

appleroot farm blog

This photo is a truly beloved scene from my childhood! Gathered round my mamaw and papaw’s table for a family meal…I can almost hear Papaw still saying, “Now you see what ’tis,” and “I like to see a feller eat!” Truth be told, Papaw himself loved to eat, and he certainly didn’t mind company at the table. Oh, and the side glances Mamaw could give Papaw for taking a second helping of sweets! We all giggle about that to this day! But who could blame Papaw for indulging when everything always tasted so good, and was shared so selflessly? You know, when I really think about it now, it was around this little farmhouse table in the middle of the Eastern Kentucky hills that I learned what true hospitality actually means. I learned how company should be made to feel when you open your door to them, and how you share with them your very best, and how your house should come to feel like home to them. Even now, long after Mamaw and Papaw have left this old world, going back to their farmhouse in Appalachia is like going home for me…because the pure love and unending generosity they showed us over the years can still be felt…hanging over the old place just like a fog hangs over the hills and hollers.


I hope you enjoyed Lorene’s reminiscing as much as I did. When I think back to eating around the table with family, I see clearly that simple every day occurrence helped shape me into who I am. And along with all the helpings of life lessons was the delicious food cooked and served by those who loved me.


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  • Reply
    William J. Boone
    January 30, 2021 at 1:29 pm

    Summer supper at Mom-Mom’s kitchen table. A big bowl of fried whole potatoes. Little new potatoes, the skin scraped off with a paring knife and turned in an iron skillet until crispy brown all around. A big bowl of fried corn or a platter heaped with boiled roastin’ ears. A heaped platter of fried simlins, white pattypan squash, sliced thin, dusted in plain flour and fried until browned or fried tomatoes, half-ripe, just turning pink tomatoes cut thick, dusted in plain flour and fried until cooked through with a little sugar sprinkled on each layer. A big bowl of fresh lima beans. A plate of sliced red and green peppers, another of ripe tomato slices. Since Pop-Pop insisted there be meat on the table a bowl of canned corned beef hash made with leftover mashed potatoes or a pack of boiled hotdogs or a plate of fried bologna. I ate my fried whole potatoes, my fried corn or corn on the cob, my fried squash or tomatoes and the fresh peppers or tomatoes without any salt as I preferred the essential sweet taste of the vegetables un-seasoned. No king who sat on any throne ever ate better.

  • Reply
    Helen Gardner
    August 15, 2019 at 4:02 pm

    I firmly believe that this world would be a better place if families still ate together at the table. It was always a place for fun, growing together and learning how folks should be treated. We had both breakfast and supper in our home and my sibs and I are still close. I love this post.

  • Reply
    July 31, 2018 at 9:33 pm

    Ah Tipper, such a good post. I love seeing pictures of people setting around the table eating, talking about their day and what is going to be doing tomorrow. Happy faces,what more could you ask for. I never got to meet my grandfather or grandmother on my dad’s side. I did on moma’s side. He sat in a wooden chair , looking out the window. After he passed away, my grandma gave me his chair. Their all gone now, even my Dad and Mom. My Aunt on my mom’s side would always ask if you wanted something to eat. Love them all. God Bless!

  • Reply
    July 30, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    I missed out on papaws until I became one. Both of mine died before I was born. My parents born died before my daughter came along. She did have her maternal grandparents. She remembers both of them well. She called them GrampPaw (pronounced as two words) and Grammaw. My son missed out on having both grandfathers and barely remembers his one grandmother.
    I only ever remember eating with my mother’s mother Cora Breedlove. Grammaw was different than most. If you were there at mealtime she would feed you and feel you well. If you were late or just wandered in you were out of luck. She never offered food. There were no leftovers! She would say “You should have come when I had it ready! I had to feed it to the hogs!”, then go on to describe what they had had to eat” If you asked her to fix you something she would say “I ain’t fixin nothin til supper! You want a cup of coffee?” She always had coffee.
    That’s one life lesson I learned from Grammaw. Be where you are supposed to be when your supposed to be and you will eat better!

    • Reply
      July 30, 2018 at 3:02 pm

      Both not born, duh!

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    July 30, 2018 at 10:36 am

    TMC hit the spot right on, families just ain’t the same as they were when I was a kid. I know my two girls Love me, but they’re both married and have lives of their own. I love Jim’s reflections too. …Ken

  • Reply
    aw griff
    July 30, 2018 at 10:25 am

    Growing up in I looked forward to after church dinners at Mamaw’s and Papaw’s.
    When the food was on the table you were called, Dinner;s ready. Before sitting down to table you went to the back porch and washed your hands in the wash pan. When everyone was seated Papaw would call on someone to turn thanks. Only after thanks could you feast.
    Does anyone still break bread like was common years ago? Cornbread that is.

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    July 30, 2018 at 10:18 am

    The post and the comments are so good today. My memories are full of delightful times around the table with family and friends. When I was growing up everyone seemed to have a big garden and the talk all summer was about new pickle recipes or how to fix squash a little differently. I think it is so sad that we seem to be leaving some of these traditions behind.

  • Reply
    S. Taylor
    July 30, 2018 at 10:03 am

    Lorene’s account of her family gladly sharing their table’s bounty with extended family, friends, and strangers (people in the process of becoming friends) is a terrific picture of how communities are made. This process of building bonds over breaking bread together has ancient roots (Jesus and the Twelve) but is something that my wife and I learned well as recipients of Southern hospitality across Appalachia when we were Berea College students. We asked our hosts how we might repay them for their generosity toward us. They humbly asked that we follow their example when we had our own home.

    With that charge, our home was open to guests shortly after our honeymoon. Then, in 1989, we started hosting international students from Berea College and numerous other guests from around the world who were visiting Berea. A highlight for us was to prepare a big feast to share with them and learn about each individual and their culture. In 2003, we purchased a 10′ long by 39″ wide dining table to accommodate our family of 7 and numerous guests. The table was the focal point for people of all faiths and from 6 continents of the world (only Antartica had no representation) to engage in civil discourse, to gain greater understanding of each other by sharing stories, histories, and aspirations. To help us remember who enriched our lives, at the end of the meal or our guests’ overnight or extended stay, we wanted a record of who our guests were. Instead of a paper guestbook, we would invite guests to sign the underside of our dining table because food and friends go together. Today, our table is graced with well over 1,000 different signatures from people who have shared a little of themselves with us over food at our table making it necessary to either add drop down leaves or accept that the table will be written on all over. It is a blessing to share the bounty God has provided with friends, family and those different from ourselves.

  • Reply
    July 30, 2018 at 9:04 am

    Just look at the food! We ate together every night when I was growing up. If somebody stopped by and we were getting ready to sit down at the table, our guests were invited to eat. Sometimes they did, sometimes they didn’t because they had other things to do.

  • Reply
    July 30, 2018 at 8:53 am

    There was something special about feeding visitors in Eastern Kentucky, even if they were immediate family. That tradition has been inherited by me. My 16 year old grandson wrote me a letter for Mother’s Day and mentioned how he and his siblings always leave with a full belly. Sometimes when they visit, the first sentence will be something like, “Mom said for us not to eat because she will have dinner ready when we get home.” We have been known to sneak around that order and vow not to tell.
    I agree with Lorene that our grandparents knew the true meaning of hospitality. I visited an aunt and uncle when I went back home shortly after I got married. He opened the door and said, “Come on in, we might not have much to eat but we shore will talk good to you.”

  • Reply
    July 30, 2018 at 8:45 am

    Family Dinners always bring Fond Memories.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 30, 2018 at 8:40 am

    What a lovely glimpse into Lorene’s heart!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    July 30, 2018 at 8:00 am

    Sounds familiar to me. I was raised to be generous. I didn’t realize it at the time. I just thought it was the way everybody was. We didn’t have money to be generous with but we could be generous with time, work and fruits of the earth. We were not unique. It was common. Folks planted with a plan to have enough to share. In life I have been learning by experience the truth of “more blessed to give than to receive”. It keeps our heart from being too small.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    July 30, 2018 at 7:20 am

    It is so true how they always made you feel right at home. Come in, sit down and what can I get you to eat. Those are the words I remember most. The smiles on their faces when you entered their house was enough to make you feel welcome. Those smiles were pure love.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    July 30, 2018 at 7:11 am

    Sucj warm happy memories

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    July 30, 2018 at 6:56 am

    Tipper and Lorene–Today’s post sure struck a resonant chord with me. That big old plate of roastin’ ears harkens back to the table at Grandpa Joe’s and Grandma Minnie’s in unerring fashion. Similarly, Lorene’s quotations from her Papaw about”now you see what it ’tis” and “I like to see a feller eat” ring true as a bell on a misty summer morning.

    Grandpa Joe always closed his blessing with “You’uns see what’s before you. Eat hearty.” He then proceeded to follow his own mandate because he was a singularly hearty trencherman. He might have been passin’ quair and distrustful of mankind in general and the government in particular, but to me he was and remains a hero of the first magnitude. Nothing has loomed larger in shaping me as a writer than his gift for and delight in telling tales.

    Once more–thanks. You can go home again, at least in memory, and I just made such a trip.

    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    July 30, 2018 at 5:29 am

    Certainly the Supper table was much more important then than it does now, that’s where families bonded after a hard days work, most kids now days will only remember the back of Mom or Dads head because got to get to some kinda practice after school but hurray and eat , then it’s hurray home to get home work done, then off to bed and the hamster wheel starts all over the next day, never really bonding as a family, it’s sad to me what we’ve become as a Nation where family isn’t important anymore.

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